Well, I decided against this shelf unit I had been using for a base. I actually have the barrel mounted to it as we speak, and had a heat deflector fabbed up, but am changing plans rapidly.
My wife kept saying "...$50 here, $50 there, how much is this homebuilt smoker gonna cost?"
Well, the answer I came up with is that I cannot halfway do this thing or else I won't be to enjoy it and show it off. Moreover, I ill want to buy what I have envisioned from the start. I need more than just good BBQ for the time and energy devoted to this project. The way I figure it, I will have built a $1000 smoker for $250-$300 bucks. I'm okay with that.
I am having a local exhaust guy fab me some 1.75" id pipes for a base/stand and also make a detachable stack out of 3" exhaust (with flange) for easy removal. I need to get him my specs on Monday. It will probably cost another hundred bucks, but it will hold up better and look great doing it.
As of this afternoon I have purchased all the steel I need to get going, and a buddy dropped off some SERIOUS expanded metal yesterday. You know the stuff you can buy at Lowe's, like 13gauge I think? Well, this is easily double that, and heavy as crap. I love it
I will start updating with pics as things shape up a little better.